Diafine, Tri-X, and TMZ
I've been shooting a couple concerts lately. My normal film is Tri-X and if lighting permits, I rate it at 400. That happened once. Otherwise its rated at 800, 1250, or 1600 and developed in Xtol and Diafine. I was originally using Xtol, then realized that my old bottles of Diafine were probably a better match for the high contrast conditions that concert photography usually is. And I get a real speed boost (right?) instead of just pushing.
I also like TMZ and shoot it sometimes at 1600, 3200, or 6400 and dev in Xtol 1:1. Don't think I'll be trying the 6400 very much anymore. While I had no problems at 3200, I do realize the benefit of shooting at 1600 if possible.
Here are my questions.
1 - Should I even bother with the TMZ if Tri-X at 1250/1600 in Diafine is working fine? Other than the TMZ 'grainy' look? Also factoring into this equation is the serious simplicity of Diafine developing. I guess if I had to shoot at 3200, keeping a roll or two of TMZ around wouldn't hurt...
2 - When I dev with Xtol, I do it 1:1 and use it one-shot. While I do reuse my fixer and HCA, I mix up photoflo each time. Everything is with distilled water except for the washing steps (not counting the final wash). I have this vague feeling that my Xtol negs are always cleaner than my Diafine negs. Of course my Diafine is over a year old. Is this all in my mind? Should I be doing something differently with my Diafine? Should I be filtering it? I've heard of using a coffee filter...
3 - TMZ in Diafine - I know the true speed of TMZ is somewhere around 1000. However, how is TMZ in Diafine? The box says T-Max P3200 should be rated at 1250 and T-Max 3200 - 35mm at 2400. What's the difference here? As far as I know, I'm shooting P3200 in 35mm, so which number? Even if the 2400 is optimistically high, why? Was this a previous formulation of TMZ or something? Am I wasting my time with TMZ in Diafine? I've not tried it yet
Hope this rambling post made some sense. Thanks!
When TMZ was new, I tested it in Diafine side-by side with Tri-X, both films rated at EI 1600. The Tri-X looked better. I think Diafine just doesn't work as well with this particular T-Grain emulsion. The negs were just plain thin.
I also tested TMZ at 1600 and 3200 in T-Max developer, and found that 1600 in T-Max Developer gave much better shadow detail in contrasty situations. The shadows at 3200 were empty. Remember that TMZ is an 800-speed film with a great ability to increase contrast through increased development. I think maybe extended times are more effective in increasing contrast with this emulsion than the short-but-potent effect of Diafine.
Filtering Diafine is a good idea if you use the same batch for a long time. Coffee filters are fine. I used to buy the gallon size just before wrestling/basketball season when I shot high-school sports, and it was looking pretty nasty after about 3 months and dozens of rolls of film. It didn't lose much, if any, potency over that length of time. I wouldn't keep it for a year, though, if I was shooting film that really matters.
In the end, if your Tri-X looks good and is doing the job, stick with it. It's certainly cheaper than TMZ. TMZ is great stuff, though, and gives excellent results if handled correctly. Your choice.
Would you consider trying Fuji Neopan 1600 in Diafine? That is my most used combination & I'm very happy with the results. On a recent night I also shot a roll of Tri-X at 1600 & processed it along with the Neopan. The Tri-X was way under, while the Neopan had plenty of shadow detail. Same camera & exposure settings. I'll test Tri-X at 800 but no way will I ever shoot it at 1600 again.
I've got a shit-ton of Tri-X and like it to boot. And at 1250, it's been working rather splendidly in the settings I've been shooting it in.
I know my original post was a bit long winded. I should have whittled it down to the real question I had:
However, how is TMZ in Diafine? The box says T-Max P3200 should be rated at 1250 and T-Max 3200 - 35mm at 2400. What's the difference here?
1250 with TMZ doesn't appeal to me. 2400 would...
Shoot a carefully metered and bracketed roll. Record your exposures. Try it.
My experience was that T-Max P3200 in Diafine did not work to my satisfaction. Your Mileage May Vary.
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TMZ Diafine is perhaps one of the worst combos I've ever tried. The ONLY images I've been satisfied with from my brief TMZ/Diafine use were with very high contrast scenes, ie candle lit scene with flame part of image. Any images shot in flat light were just ugly, if printable at all.
TX is the film for Diafine.
From all that I've read (and shot) TX is indeed the film for Diafine. I guess I was curious to know why there are two different speeds listed for TMZ...
TMZ changed a little a few years ago. One speed may be for the old version, and one for the new. I also recall that the Diafine box has a different speed for 120 TMZ (did such a thing exist?), that would make sense, but I'm not sure if I remember the box info correctly.
Originally Posted by Tim Gray